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Second chance for haulage boss

PUBLISHED: 20:00 05 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 March 2010

A FELIXSTOWE haulage manager jailed for two years for an alleged racially-motivated attack is today set to be given a second chance by his bosses - thanks to an electronic tag.

A FELIXSTOWE haulage manager jailed for two years for an alleged racially-motivated attack is today set to be given a second chance by his bosses – thanks to an electronic tag.

If granted a release licence, Robert Charles could be back at work one day a week to help him return to the community and start putting his life back together.

His employers had decided to sack him when he was sent to prison in May, but have now had a change of heart and want to help him all they can.

Charles was convicted of actual bodily harm after he was involved in an alleged racially-motivated attack at a seafront takeaway.

But now, after serving under six months of his sentence, he has applied for a one-day release licence to enable him to leave prison once a week to work at the haulage company.

"Although I don't condone his actions, we see no point in him being thrown on the scrap heap," said haulage manager Shaun Allen.

"The role he was doing has been filled but we're looking for an opportunity to rebuild his career."

Mr Allen also added that the one-day licence would enable Charles to contribute to society.

If Charles, from Felixstowe, is given the licence he would be electronically tagged and released from prison 11 hours for one day each week to work, just like former disgraced cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, who was jailed for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Mr Allen supported his colleague during the court case and was shocked to find Charles was given a two-year sentence. The manager still defends his colleague and claims that racism had nothing to do with the assault which took place in a Felixstowe kebab shop in the early hours of November 10, 2001 when Charles had been out celebrating his 30th birthday.

Mr Allen had said in early June that Charles, who had been an operations manager at the haulage company – which has not been named but is based in Felixstowe's dockland – would not be able to return back to work because he would have a criminal record.

However he has since had a change of heart and said he would allow Charles to return because the experience he had to offer was valuable and should not be wasted.

Nevertheless Charles, who worked his way up from a dock runner 12 years after joining the company as a Youth Training Scheme trainee, may have to rebuild his career again.

Charles was sent to Norwich Prison after a two-day trial at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court in May found him guilty. The decision as to whether Charles should be released on a one-day licence will be made in the next two weeks.

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